Here’s What Happened When We Cooked Like Martha Stewart for a Week (Our Mascara Melted, for Starters)

Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart Marcus Nilsson

Martha Stewart is the ultimate cooking guru, and now her meals are available to everyone. The maven, 74, teamed with meal-kit delivery service Marley Spoon to give home chefs the tools to whip up her recipes.

"Martha & Marley Spoon meal kits combine fresh ingredients and easy to follow instructions," Stewart tells Us Weekly of her subscription-based boxes with preportioned ingredients and step-by-step photo recipe cards. "You can save time to make time for the most important things in your life."

Subscribers can select two, three or four meals a week that feed two or four people each. (The subscription starts at $8.70 a serving.) Stewart promises that with the service, "everyone has the ability to cook wholesome dinners … every night of the week."

With this in mind, Us enlisted associate staff writer ― and fledgling chef ― Talia Ergas to cook like Stewart for five days straight. The goal: to see if it's really possible (and simple!) to make top-notch meals like the domestic goddess.

Here's how it went.

Day 1

My Martha & Marley Spoon meal kit, with four dinners portioned for two people each, arrives at my doorstep. Inside, the ingredients are divided and clearly labeled by meal into four large brown bags.

I decide to tackle the shrimp tortilla soup first. (Marley Spoon recommends cooking seafood in the first 48 hours.) Though the recipe card estimates 25 minutes for this dish, my novice chopping skills make me clock in at closer to an hour.

Still, the steps are beginner-friendly. My only mishap occurs when adding onion. While the directions read, "Halve, peel and chop the onion," I believe they mean to say, "Halve, then peel and chop half the onion and discard the second half." My dish ends up with double the onion!

Day 2

Tonight I enlist my very hungry boyfriend to help me make sausage bake with cannellini beans and broccoli rabe. Again, the meal takes longer than the anticipated 30 minutes ― even with two cooks in the kitchen, it's closer to an hour.

Opening the 425-degree oven to take out the bake leads to a minor disaster: a blast of hot air whooshes in my face, melting my mascara and globbing my eyelashes together. Oops!

I have my boyfriend plate our dinner while I run to wash my face. The dish is absolutely delicious, filling and supersimple to whip up. Definitely worth the eyelash melting!

Day 3

On tonight's menu is cumin chickpea and lentil salad. I have to admit: I'm not as pumped for this one. Although I chose to try a vegetarian option, chickpeas and lentils aren't my favorite.

For a salad, there is a lot of stovetop work involved! The lentils and the warm ginger-lime dressing have to simmer. But the result is much tastier than I anticipated. I bring the leftovers to work for lunch the next day.

Day 4

My hungry boyfriend is back to help me tackle crispy chicken thighs with tomatoes and rice. To be honest, I'm starting to get tired of working in the kitchen every night. (I wonder if Martha Stewart ever just orders sushi and calls it a night.)

I am enjoying that these recipes are nudging me out of my comfort zone and giving me new ideas. I've made chicken countless times, but never like this: nestled in a bed of spicy tomatoes, first cooked in coconut oil on the stove, then finished off in the oven. Yum! We accidentally burn the rice, but overall, the night is a success.

Day 5

I've maxed out my four Martha & Marley Spoon meals for this week, so I'm going to give it a shot the old-fashioned way: to the grocery store with a recipe I go!

I find a delicious and doable-looking hangar steak and wedge salad dish in the July/August issue of Martha Stewart Living. (I have to say, I truly miss the convenience of my ingredients being preselected, measured and packaged for me.) I have to buy a $10 bottle of sherry vinegar only to use 3 tablespoons! My grocery bill was a whopping $44.33. Dinner is delicious and fairly simple to make, but there is a ton of waste.

The Verdict

Mishaps aside, I really enjoyed cooking with Martha & Marley Spoon. For a beginner chef, I'd definitely recommend a subscription to learn the basics. More advanced chefs will enjoy unexpected combinations (whoever thought of a tomato, feta and ciabatta bake?!) that can be prepared with relative ease. And because they reduce waste, preportioned ingredients are environmentally friendly.

Whether I'm on my way to domestic-goddess status remains to be seen, but I'm certainly well fed!

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